11 migrants survived a shipwreck off the Italian coast, the search for the missing is ongoing

Sixty-four people are missing at sea after a shipwreck off Italy's southern coast, United Nations agencies said.

The accident, which happened about 200 kilometers from Calabria, happened after a boat that left Turkey eight days earlier caught fire and overturned, informed some of the survivors.

The agencies said that 11 people were rescued and taken ashore in the Calabrian town.

Concetta Joffre, of the Italian Red Cross, said a total of 12 were rescued but one person died.

"They suffered a lot, they had broken pelvises, legs and arms, head contusions and burns. "Survivors tell us about an explosion on the ship before it started to sink," Joffre said.

The search and rescue operation began after the French vessel was called to Mayday, the Italian coast guard said in a statement.

The ship was sailing in a border area where Greece and Italy are conducting search and rescue operations.

The survivors and people still missing at sea are from Iran, Syria and Iraq, UN agencies said.

The Italian maritime rescue coordination center immediately diverted two merchant ships sailing near the rescue site.

Teams from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex also arrived to help.

The survivors were brought to the Calabrian port of Rocella Ionica, where they were disembarked and entrusted to the care of medical staff.

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